By Abbey Doyle
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
Robynn Delph loved all living things. Instead of killing spiders she would capture them and release them outside.
That peaceful and compassionate nature is contrasted sharply by the tragic death of Robynn and her son, Joshua. Robynn, 41, and 9-year-old Joshua were found dead inside their Anderson home on May 17, 2004, huddled together in Joshua’s room. They died of smoke inhalation.
Anderson Fire Department officials said there were six points where accelerants had been placed on the home’s front porch, a seventh was in a doorway and at least five others were placed throughout the structure.
Rex David Delph, 45, was charged with arson and two counts of murder for reportedly killing the two in their home in the 1300 block of West Second Street. But the lengthy legal odyssey included a judge dismissing the charges, saying the prosecutor took too long to pursue a trial, the refiling of the counts, and seven defense attorneys taking up his cause at various times. Delph died in Noblesville in 2009 from cancer.
Robynn’s family said they didn’t know of any physical abuse involving the couple — investigators claimed, but never proved, that Delph wanted $345,000 in insurance. But her family said he was very controlling. Because of lingering illnesses, Delph was dependent on Robynn for most of his needs.
“She was always helping out other people,” Robynn’s sister, Julie Baker said. “She worked at Bob Evans and saved back 10 percent of what she made so she could give it to others.”
Julie said she can’t imagine what either Josh or Robynn would have done without the other. The two had an unbreakable bond. “She loved that little guy,” Julie said.
The family was a musical one with Robynn, her father Ralph Gasche and others playing musical instruments. They formed a family band that often played at church. Ralph said Robynn played several instruments but the clarinet was like an extension of who she was.
“She could play anything,” he said. “I’d be playing, and she’d join in and play harmony. She was amazing. We just miss her so much. To lose a child is a horrible thing. You lose part of your heart.”
What Julie remembers most, though, were Robynn’s lullabies.
“She sang me to sleep every single night,” Julie said. “She left for college when I was 10 and it just broke my heart.”
Robynn moved from her Ohio home at 18 to attend Anderson University. She left Anderson for a time but returned to Madison County to be with Rex Delph. At the time of her death, she was one class shy of graduation. She dreamed of sharing her love of music with others, her father said.